Excited crowd members in the Bone Student Center cheered on Illinois State University alumnus Christian Stoinev as he made it to the top 12 on the hit TV show “America’s Got Talent.”
A special viewing party for the show was held in the Brown Ballroom from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday night.
From 7-8 p.m., a recap showing of the contestants competing for the top 12 spots on “America’s Got Talent” was aired. Then from 8-9 p.m. suspense was high as the results of the top 6 were given.
Stoinev was one of three groups with the lowest votes, so he, along with “Blue Journey,” a dancing couple, and “Smoothini,” a magician, were placed in the Snapple Save.
The Snapple Save meant that audience members could still vote to save their favorite performer. According to Nate Carpenter, a social media expert who was at the event, social media posts about Stoinev had spread to over 1 million social media users during the showing.
The results came in and viewers voted to save Blue Journey. But to the audience at the viewing party’s pleasure, the judges then voted to save Stoinev, eliminating Smoothini from the competition.
Stoinev’s performances include balancing and acrobatic moves with his dog, Scooby.
The night also included refreshments and giveaways. Circus-themed mini corn dogs, nachos, popcorn, lemonade and water were served. Giveaways included ISU water bottles and jump ropes for children.
Liz Rill, a senior broadcast journalism major, was the emcee of the event. She invited guests to speak about Stoinev, including President Dietz, fellow circus teammates, the director of the Gamma Phi Circus and Stoinev’s mother.
“We are very happy and thankful for the Gamma Phi Circus, TV-10 and everyone who supported Christian,” said his mother, Maritsa Stoinev.
She said that even if he does not make it any further in the competition, she is very proud of him and everyone who supported him at the viewing party.
Brady Adams, a freshman English major who knew Stoinev, said he was pleased Stoinev made it through to the top 12.
“He’s definitely the most hardworking guy I’ve seen,” Adams said. Adams joined the Gamma Phi Circus this year.
Stoinev began performing at five years old and he is a fifth-generation circus performer. He was the first in his family to attend college.
He received his bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from ISU and he worked on air with TV-10 News. He performed with the Gamma Phi Circus during his time at ISU.
The ISU School of Communication and the Gamma Phi Circus hosted the event.